Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Luis Felipe Torres, Owner of OnePlus Strength & Conditioning - OP CrossFit, located in San Antonio, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At OnePlus Strength and Conditioning - OP CrossFit, we take a unique approach to the fitness industry that sets us apart from standard commercial gyms. Our focus is on delivering excellent results for our members rather than having a high volume of clients who may not utilize the gym. Our profit is the success and progress made by our members. Our gym is comprised of professionals who have formal education in physical activity and health, unlike instructors who only have a few certifications. Our team possesses a passion beyond a hobby for fitness and provides mentorship and leadership to all members.
We do not follow a "one size fits all" approach. Instead, our program is designed to be personalized for each individual who walks through our doors. We take pride in our low client turnover rate and strive to make a commitment for life with our members. Our relationship with our customers is genuine, from daily training sessions to growing meaningful connections.
Our aim is to provide excellent training by being proficient in every aspect of physical skills and conditioning. Unlike other gyms that have a pre-designed methodology or format, we adhere to the limitless exposure of training capabilities that can be found in our functional lives, making us prepared for anything, anytime.
We prioritize a lifestyle paradigm over preparing for a contest, wedding, or bikini photoshoot. Our members not only look and feel great, but they also perform well year-round, not just for a few months.
Tell us about yourself
Many people in the US call me "Lufe" Torres. I have been in the fitness industry for 20 years, starting as an assistant Head Coach for a soccer team while simultaneously training my first private clients in physical training and nutrition.
Wanting to expand my knowledge, I received a full-ride scholarship to study Physical Education and Exercise Science in Chile, my home country, at one of the best universities in South America. I moved to San Antonio, Texas, in January 2012 and immediately created a CrossFit gym from scratch, where I worked as the Head Coach for about 3-4 months. My partner was a sports nutritionist, and the connection was seamless.
Unfortunately, the gym was located in the other extreme of the city, in the Helotes area, so I searched for another gym and found CrossFit Warrior Spirit, where I became the Head Coach at the end of 2012. However, when new ownership took control of the gym, they brought old-fashioned ideas to the fitness industry and lacked education, like the "one size fits all" concept or cutting costs at the expense of quality. I believe that a good business model benefits everyone, not just a few.
When I saw these issues within the industry in San Antonio, I had two options: continue with the standard or shake up the local industry with newer ideas, more professionalism, younger blood, and a more open view of the industry due to my different education degrees and social experiences living in another country. I chose the latter and, with my partner Lane Traylor, created OnePlus.
The OnePlus concept is to have everything under "One" system while remaining open to other variables, the "Plus," that can be introduced into our gym, ranging from practical applications in the methodologies used in our classes to different health and fitness professionals working in our facilities, such as nutritionists, physical therapists, and massage therapists.
I am most proud of having a positive impact in our community of San Antonio, specifically Alamo Heights and Terrel Hills, where people come to our gym for health reasons. The greatest reward is having those individuals return over the years, addressing their health issues and achieving the best health of their lives.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, I am proud of several accomplishments that I have achieved with the help of my partners at OnePlus. First and foremost, creating something from scratch and building it into a successful business has been a significant accomplishment. It required a lot of planning, hard work, and dedication to turn our vision into a reality, but it has been very rewarding.
Another significant accomplishment has been building strong relationships with our clients. I have been training some of our clients for almost 10 years, and seeing their growth, consistency, and results has been a testament to the quality of our services. It's been fulfilling to see the impact we've made on their lives, and I am grateful for their loyalty and trust.
Lastly, I am proud to have elevated the professionalism of the strength and conditioning industry here in San Antonio, as well as the CrossFit community in general. When I arrived in the US 12 years ago, the industry was largely unregulated and lacked professionalism. I made it my mission to bring a higher standard of education, experience, and expertise to our gym, and I am proud to see the positive impact we have had on the industry. It has been a privilege to give back to the community and to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a business owner, finding balance in life can be challenging, especially when trying to juggle various responsibilities, such as being a father, husband, homeowner, and athlete, while also dedicating time to serving others.
As a father of two daughters, it's important to be present in their lives, attend school events, and spend quality time with them. Being a supportive husband is equally important, as it takes effort to maintain a healthy relationship and keep the spark alive. At the same time, homeownership requires attention and maintenance to ensure the house is functioning properly.
In addition to family and homeownership responsibilities, maintaining a healthy lifestyle as an athlete is a top priority. Consistently dedicating time to training and competing can be difficult when there are so many other demands on one's time.
Despite these challenges, giving back to others is a core value that many business owners prioritize. However, finding the time to serve the community can be a challenge when balancing so many other responsibilities.
Overall, finding balance in all aspects of life is a constant work in progress for business owners. While it can be challenging at times, prioritizing and managing time effectively can help create more space for the important things in life, including family, fitness, and giving back to others.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Starting, running, and growing a business can be a daunting task, but with the right mindset and approach, anyone can achieve success. Here are my top three tips:
- Define your purpose and be passionate about it: Before starting any business, it's crucial to ask yourself why you want to do it and whether it aligns with your values, goals, and lifestyle. You need to have a clear understanding of your purpose and your passion for it, as this will be the driving force behind your business. You'll also need to be prepared for the long-term commitment and sacrifices that come with it.
- Be unique and add value: To stand out in a crowded marketplace, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition by offering something unique and valuable. Don't copycat other businesses or try to replicate their success. Instead, focus on your strengths, expertise, and creativity, and develop a brand and a strategy that reflect your personality and your customers' needs. Be open to feedback and adapt your approach to changing market conditions.
- Be resilient and persistent: Building a successful business takes time, effort, and resilience. You need to be prepared to face challenges, setbacks, and failures along the way but also learn from them and use them as opportunities to grow and improve. You need to have the stamina and mental strength to stay focused, motivated, and productive, even when things get tough. Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, advisors, peers, and customers who can inspire you and help you stay on track.
Remember, starting a business is not just a job, it's a lifestyle. It requires discipline, creativity, and passion, but also patience, humility, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be on your way to creating a successful and fulfilling business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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